The Mainz State Museum is one of Germany's oldest museums. Its extensive collections of art and cultural history today include paintings, sculptures and prints from the Middle Ages to the present, archaeological finds from Mainz and Rhine-Hessia dating back to Roman times, pre- and proto-historic artifacts, crafts from the region as well as Jewish cultural objects. Five scientists manage the collections and work on their development.
Science is of particular importance when it comes to the four core tasks of a museum –collecting, maintaining, exploring and presenting – as it is the basis for other traditional tasks. It is the scientific approach to the arts and cultural history of the area that allows defining a collection strategy in the first place which ultimately reveals what is worth keeping, or collecting and what not. Restoration as well must be based on a multi-dimensional assessment of the object, the historicity and significance of which must be considered when taking preserving measures. Today it is furthermore essential to bear in mind that exhibiting is more than mere public display, but that such presenting of contexts can generate new experiences and new knowledge. A scientific approach is fundamental for those reasons as well. In this respect, the Mainz State Museum pursues a predominantly interdisciplinary approach. Here, universities and non-academic institutions are important partners. In 2015, for example, the State Museum will present the exhibition “Ritter! Tod! Teufel? Franz von Sickingen und die Reformation“ [Knight! Death! Devil? Franz von Sickingen and the Reformation] which is being created in cooperation with the faculty of Protestant Theology at the University of Mainz. When investigating early medieval skeletons, the Institute of Anthropology at the University of Mainz was recently consulted. Image sources and the expertise of museum staff support at the same time projects of external partners, such as the 3D reconstruction of the medieval merchant house “Kaufhaus am Brand that was carried out by the Institut für Geschichtliche Landeskunde (Institute for Historical Regional Studies - IGL) and the Institute for Media Design (IMG), the University of Applied Sciences Mainz together with the i3mainz (Institute for Space-Oriented Information and Measurement Technology).
The State Museum provides originals to science as primary sources that can be re-visited again and again, and if being properly maintained will preserve this quality even for the following generations. The State Museum finally fulfils its legal mandate of granting access to all citizens to their cultural heritage by its high standards with regard to the quality of presentation, through an active, best possible target group-specific approach of the entire social spectrum of the population and a comprehensive understanding of accessibility.